Definitely back on island time

Alia Vita
Rob & Frances Lythgoe
Fri 13 Nov 2015 11:08
So the first thing we need to do on arrival in the BVI is conform to the legal requirements and clear customs and immigration.  After anchoring Alia Vita in North Sound, Virgin Gorda, we get straightened up a bit, have a celebratory drink and launch the dinghy. The ride to Customs and Immigration at Gun Creek is about 1 mile so we set off as we aren't allowed to step ashore until this formality is taken care of.  

We get to the office at 11:30 to be told everyone is at lunch, come back after 1pm.  I ask what time they close and the answer is 4pm, but don't even think about turning up later than 3:30. This is important because we obviously have no intention of staying on the boat until we have cleared in, we had already discussed lunch and a beer.  We take the 1 mile dinghy ride back to the boat then go ashore and have a bite of lunch. At 3pm and another 1 mile in the dinghy, we are told that whilst the immigration people are there, customs haven't shown up and we can't do one without the other, and customs needs to be first, so, another mile back to the boat to return the following morning, 9:30 should be OK apparently.  This time customs are there but no immigration officials. We complete the customs part and sit and wait for the immigration chap to turn up.

Whilst waiting we obviously read all of the available information leaflets. We especially liked the one that quotes the opening hours for customs and immigration at Gun Creek; 8:30 to 4:30 Mon to Fri with shorter hours at the weekend. Interesting. The immigration official strolls in at 10:15 and we take the sixth mile long dinghy ride having successfully cleared in. And you know what? I love it!  I think I'm actually chilling in my old age. Total cost of clearing the boat and 4 crew into the BVI? 40 cents.  The only gripe with that is that we are in the BRITISH Virgin Islands and the official currency is the US dollar; what's all that about?

We spent the rest of day and the one following intermittently snoozing and doing boat jobs. The whole boat is encrusted with salt and it needs to be removed. I also dived under the boat for the first time in over six months as the water in the US was just too cold, to have a quick inspection and see how much cleaning there is to do. It isn't nearly as bad as I feared and anything that managed to cling on to the hull for the last nine days deserves to be there in my opinion, but all those little crustaceans do need to go as well eventually so I will get the scuba gear out in the next week or so to do it properly.